Connecting the grids

ABB has won a $50 million order to install a new high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission system between the eastern and western power grids of the US.

ABB has won a US$ 50 million order to install a new high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission system between the eastern and western power grids of the US.

Under the terms of the contract, ABB will design, build and install the system connecting the two grids, as part of a joint project between two US utilities: Basin Electric Power Co-operative of Bismarck, ND, and Black Hills Power, of Rapid City, SD.

The HVDC system – to be called the ‘Rapid City Tie’ because of its proximity to Rapid City – will increase the capacity for high voltage power exchange between the two grids by 200 MW. The Rapid City Tie will be used by both utilities to expand service to their respective markets.

It is scheduled to enter commercial operation in October 2003. Besides enabling east-west power transmission, it will also provide voltage and frequency support for disturbances in either one of the grids.

The high voltage alternating current (AC) grids in the eastern and western US do not operate synchronously and require a technology interface to reliably connect the systems together. ABB pioneered HVDC transmission technology – now a well-proven technology – to interconnect asynchronous grids.

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